Freshmen Battle Royale

Submitted by Ziff72 on November 25th, 2009 at 3:02 PM

Assuming we get Grimes next years fall camp will be an interesting battle for starting CB, Back Up, Redshirt and Hello Safety.

Floyd too, but he's a soph

If Woolfolk stays at CB and Warren stays they'll all be cock blocked. At least now I feel good that we have enough competition that whoever makes it will be competent. I think we finally have competition at every spot on the roster. Safety will be fun too.

CB battle loser

GBMW should have daily updates on who has won the job and will be awesome only to find out the next day he's struggling.


the Bray

November 25th, 2009 at 3:07 PM ^

What are the chances Dileo gets moved to safety? Since we compare white guys to white guys... I can't help but see him as a Craig Steltz type player (in time).

Also, it seems more prevalent in the SEC to have a DB/kick returner... of course it could just be that I see Arenas do it for Alabama and assume they all do it down there.

But... Dileo seems to at least have the size to grow into a safety... and having played WR you'd hope he'd be able to learn cover skills.

Just looking at the numerous WR options and trying to figure out who goes where.


November 25th, 2009 at 3:15 PM ^

Craig Steltz? What? The only thing he has in common with Dileo is race.

Steltz is 6-1, Dileo is generously listed at 5-9. Steltz is a big hitter who isn't a fast guy, Dileo is a speedy little bastard.

Steltz is a lot more like Carvin Johnson (omg interracial comparison), which is a nice coincidence, since they're both products of Archbishop Rummel High.


November 25th, 2009 at 3:10 PM ^

Dileo is already Wes Welker.

I think if one of Turner, Floyd, Christian or Witty can step in at corner, we may try to move Woolfolk back to safety. Then Williams/Kovacs can be primarily in run support/blitz situations, then maybe Emilien/Turner/Robinson as the coverage safeties.


November 25th, 2009 at 3:13 PM ^

based on nothing but conjecture and recruiting hype:

CB: Warren and Turner
S: Johnson and Woolfolk

Floyd as the Nickel CB with one of the freshman breaking through as well (Witty perhaps)
Emilien sees time at S along with Johnson.

Kovacs and/or Williams imitate Stevie Brown and get shifted over to his LB spot and play ahead of Smith.

I usually hate slotting true freshman into the projected starting lineup, but the more I hear about Carvin Johnson the more I like. Its encouraging that he plays Safety in a competitive environment and won't have to change positions.

Maize and Blue…

November 25th, 2009 at 3:33 PM ^

or have you forgotten already. He's going to be an early enrollee and he's higher rated. I remember him having 20 tackles from his safety spot earlier in the year before his injury. It will be nice to have some serious competition in the secondary with two coming in early. Three if we can somehow pull Jefferson.


November 25th, 2009 at 3:37 PM ^

It sounded like they wanted to put him at the LB spot Brown has occupied. It seems like that position requires a lot of quick reads and might suit a more veteran player.

Pure speculation, of course, but I thought he might be a redshirt or backup as an LB.

turbo cool

November 25th, 2009 at 4:01 PM ^

Herro Carwin looks to be good but i'd place more stock in Vlad at this point than him. He'll have a year of experience over him which should help him get his full strength back. Right now i'm assuming it will be Vlad and Woolfolk. Based purely on recruiting service, i'd think that it is more likely MarvRob would be playing over Carwin as well.

Wow our secondary might be really good for couple years. weird.

edit: Conelius Jones might be playing safety as well. And, what's the word on Cameron Gordon? Perhaps a move to LB? Not sure if he played any in high school...


November 25th, 2009 at 4:37 PM ^

I'm just giving my opinion/prediction. Johnson sounds more ready-to-go as a freshman to me, but obviously the enrolling early thing plays to Robinson's advantage.

It seems like the talk before the season about recruits being ready is often wrong, especially when its based primarily on rankings.

Looking back over the last couple classes, expectations were really high for Campbell, Gallon, Turner and Emilien. But they saw little playing time compared to Roh, Smith, and even T.Jones.

The year before there was hype for T.Robinson, Feagin, O'Neill, but it was Odoms, Koger, and Martin who contributed right away. Then again, cissoko and mcguffie did play as much as they were hyped up to...

This isn't to say anything about their long-term potential, just that I suspect from anecdotal observation of IMMEDIATE contributions as freshman, recruiting rankings aren't as good of an indicator as they are for long-term production. Some guys (like hopefully Turner) just take a little longer to get acclimated to college.

Maize and Blue…

November 25th, 2009 at 5:14 PM ^

Turner and Gallon got in late. Vlad had not played football since his JR year due to a torn ACL between the summer of his JR and SR year. He should be back to full strength next season. As for Will, or any OL/DL, very seldom do they have an immediate impact their freshman year. Will overpowered people in HS and used very little technique. Others may have great technique, but lack the size to play as true freshman.
T. Jones hardly played, Smith wouldn't have seen the field much if Minor and Brown could have stayed healthy, Roh on the other hand was very good. Kids got a great motor and had excellent coaching in HS.
I don't remember any hype on Feagin except that he happened to be a dual threat QB which we had none of. Robinson's was based on athletic ability, but he had to switch positions and then got hurt.
Odoms had the benefit of being the only slot on the team after TRob went down, Koger didn't start until the end of the year, and Martin never started, but played extremely well in his relief apperances.
Ideally in a couple years RR will have the program to a point where you very seldom see freshman starting and a vast majority of them RS.


November 25th, 2009 at 5:26 PM ^

any number of reasons can prevent a true freshman from contributing. There are a lot of variables.

I agree that in the long run there will hopefully be less conjecture of this kind. True freshman playing should be infrequent, ideally.

Minor quibbles:

T.Robinson wasn't just an injury issue though because he still can't get on the field. A 4-star behind a basketball player / walk-on type. No matter how athletic Grady is, thats not a good sign. TRob has had issues catching the ball from what I remember reading here. Maybe blocking too. Hard to project this stuff across the next level... Its these little things that can get you playing time but maybe don't show up in rivals stars.

Odoms wasn't the only slot considering Roundtree has beaten him out for the position.

I agree that OL/DL is especially tough to break into when young. But, Martin and Roh both made signficant contributions as true freshman. Campbell played, but wasn't as good right away as some (many?) expected him to be.

Maize and Blue…

November 25th, 2009 at 7:04 PM ^

Roundtree was a RS and was having trouble catching the ball. The coaches noticed him squinting all the time last spring and got him contacts. He still was third on depth chart this year until Grady had a case of the dropsies and Odoms got hurt. Hard to say Roundtree beat out Odoms since he never started when Odoms was healthy.
Like I said about TRob besides the injury there was the matter of switching positions-he played QB his senior year and you never know a kid is going to adjust.
I would disagree that Martin made a significant contribution as a true freshman. He did well in a backup role and I think he is going to be a beast. Roh started, but not in a traditional DL position more of an OLB in a 3-4. Maybe I should have clarified myself and said specifically DT.
Those who had to high of expectations for Big Will ignored what they saw on tape. He would stand right up because he was bigger and stronger then anyone else. He's also going to be a monster, but that technique won't work when you're going up against someone just as strong and almost the same size.


November 25th, 2009 at 9:52 PM ^

True, we can't say for certain that Roundtree beat Odoms out. RR, I"m sure, would say every position is open in the spring. But according to any pundit writing on the subject, Roundtree seems to have impressed over the last few games enough to insert himself into the starting lineup. Roundtree got his shot, regardless of how, and has seemingly earned a starting position.

Roundtree was around last year and available to play, but Odoms was the better player at that time. Now, it looks like 4 star (Roundtree) may have surpassed the 3 star that made a bigger impact initially. Thats my whole point. Even though Robinson was the highest rated and hyped slot, Odoms made the biggest initial impact and was the lowest rated, but now Roundtree, the other 4 star, may end up being the best slot in the long run.

Martin played as a backup, but RR and Schafer came in saying they liked to have a lot of rotation in the DL. Obviously they can't do that this year because of depth issues (big dropoff from the starting 3.5), but they want to, and did so last season. Martin saw a lot of snaps and made a lot of big plays, he just didn't start over 2 seniors. His UFRs usually featured a few positive plays and no negatives. I agree with you, though, its rare for a DL (DT especially) to make an impact as a freshman. Its a testament to Martin's abilities.

I also agree with you on Big Will expectations. That said, I don't think technique was the only issue. His conditioning and strength were also a factor as he was pushed back or block neutralized often. I also wasn't impressed with his motor. If you rewatch the OSU game he's behind often and not exactly sprinting all over the field like Martin.


November 25th, 2009 at 8:21 PM ^

You're kidding right? With the likes of Woolfolk, Williams, Kovacs, Emilien, Christian, and MRob, there is NO way a two star safety with offers from (aside from Michigan) Louisiana Tech, SMU, etc is going to win a starting spot. Sure sometimes stars arent spot on as far as talent level, but there is a reason he wasn't noticed this year or offered by anyone else.


November 25th, 2009 at 3:18 PM ^

I agree, the exciting thing about that depth is that there is a statistically good chance that one or two of those players will emerge into gamers. It is similar to the deep underclassmen running back and wide receiver classes. It was inevitable that some playmakers would emerge, and by seasons end V. Smith and Roundtree did (and Stonum to a lesser extent).


November 25th, 2009 at 3:44 PM ^

I just see him as a better natural fit at corner. He was recruited as a corner and seemed to play well this year when he got a shot. At safety he seemed to have a little trouble reacting in zone coverage (though this is totally understandable since he hadn't really ever played the position before) and making tackles (though I may be overreacting to the State game). I would leave him and Warren at corner and then see where the other pieces fit best after that.

I can't wait to see this team with some real talented depth at every position.


November 25th, 2009 at 4:14 PM ^

Sample size and all that, but the defense played a hell of a lot better with Woolfolk at safety than corner. I think the coaching staff likes having a trues speedster back there, and corner depth next year looks better than safety.


November 25th, 2009 at 4:55 PM ^

I think the difference in the defense's performance had more to do with losing Cissoko (which forced Woolfolk to corner) and essentially replacing him in the secondary with a RS freshman walk-on. Woolfolk may get better at it with time/practice at the position, but he never struck me as someone with the instincts or the tackling ability to be successful as a safety, while his speed and cover skills seem perfectly suited to playing corner (where I thought he played much better).

I would just as soon keep him where he is at corner (I think he and Warren could be a very good pair next year) while playing some combo of Vlad/Kovacs/Williams/Gordon/Freshman/Turner? at safety where they would just have to be not-terrible, rather than hoping Turner/Witty/Jones/Freshman can lock up the second corner spot and provide depth for nickle packages. Either way, it is nice to know the coaches will actually get to decide where to play guys next year rather than just having to move guys around to fill holes in the depth chart.


November 25th, 2009 at 4:46 PM ^

You have to love all the competition that will be had in the secondary. I am just very leery about competition at linebacker. HOPEFULLY Sam Webb's gut feeling is right and Josh Furman goes blue, but losing stevie is going to hurt a lot and it has been made painfully obvious this year and last that Obi and Jonas just hate being in position. Hopefully JB Fitzgerald and maybe a freshie can push these older guys to play their best.

OSUMC Wolverine

November 25th, 2009 at 5:20 PM ^

Obi just reads every play a full second behind most MLBs. That is why he forever seems out of position. He is slow to approach the line on running situations and slow to retreat in pass coverage. About the only thing he is quick to do is go laterally...which unfortunately he has a habit of overrunning and the play. Ironic.


November 25th, 2009 at 8:49 PM ^

So are we recruiting Furman as SAM backer or safety? And I gotta agree with your competition point. RichRod has said to several recruits "My goal is to get several guys competing for the starting spot at every position." Well he's got his wish now, almost every position has a starter and someone who's going to push them, and take over if they falter.


November 26th, 2009 at 10:54 PM ^

it'll be awesome to be able to use nickle and dime packages again. the lack of personnel substitutions is what killed us more than anything talent-related this season. third and twenty and we've still got the base d out there most of the time.